Five common social media mistakes small businesses make
If you own a business (or aspire to) no doubt social media is in your marketing mix. Did you know that close to 50% of small businesses in Australia have a social media presence? It’s clear that in Australia – and more than likely globally, too – small businesses are using social media to raise awareness, connect and sell.
Mastering social media isn’t easy. Considering business owners come from a wide variety of business backgrounds, it’s understandable to find social media challenging. Hell, I’ve been in online marketing for more than 10 years and I’m still learning!
Mistakes are inevitable in any learning process, but you can learn from ones made by me and others to help you get a secure head-start on this social media business. Here are five common social media mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
Here are five common social media mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
1. Being everywhere
It’s a great feeling – you’re ready to launch your business to the world and what better platform than social media. But which one? Facebook, Snap, Insta, Google +? Well, let’s just go on all of them! MISTAKE!
It’s a mistake because managing multiple social media accounts is not only resource-heavy but also a downright headache. What you should do is research the online behaviours of your audience and meet them there. For example, you’re selling make up and you find out that your audience watch make up tutorial videos. So, YouTube would be a key social media network for you as well as Snapchat. Start with these two channels and then expand later.
Learning: Be strategic about which social media networks are worthy of your time and advertising dollars. Do your research first!
2. Spray and pray
The scattergun approach to social media marketing is publishing the same content across all your social media channels. Time is your most precious commodity, so it’s uber tempting to share that one message across all your social pages with just a click of a button. However, this is a MISTAKE! Why? Because each social media platform has a different algorithm, so what might work better for Facebook, might not be the same for Twitter.
Also, if you post the same content on every social media platform, why would I follow you everywhere? It’s okay to duplicate some content across all your social but don’t do it often.
Post to each site differently as the language, context and culture on each is different. There is nothing worse than seeing the @ symbol in a Facebook post referencing a Twitter username. It’s a huge turn off to Facebook users and tells me you aren’t really engaging on Facebook, just feeding it content. ~ Postplanner
Learning: Don’t spray your content across all your social channels and pray it works. Offer different content across your social – most the time – so it keeps your audience engaged and the social network’s algorithm happy.
3. Building a personal brand and not a business brand or vice versa
One common lesson I teach my clients is that you must have a business brand that’s different to your personal brand. Many business owners have a Facebook profile to promote their business (not a page) or promote their business on their personal Instagram account. This is a MISTAKE that can cost your personal or professional reputation!
Think of it this way: I have my business under my name: janinemarin.com.au and I keep my personal brand different to that of my business. Why? Because my brand – like yours – will be mine for life. My business might evolve or it might not, so why would I want to keep all my ‘brand eggs’ in one basket? I have a personal Facebook page that has completely different content to my Facebook page. I have a LinkedIn personal account and a company page for my business. Sure, sometimes they overlap, but:
It’s essential that your social feeds have personality, but it’s even more important that they stay on-message and don’t become a forum to air personal grievances and opinions.
Learning: Safeguard your personal brand and your business brand by treating them as two separate entities.
4. Not engaging with your audience
Social media is a two-way communication platform. It’s got ‘social’ in it, afterall. So, don’t make the mistake of ignoring your audience on social media. Many business owners are quick to engage with positive comments and ignore those unsavoury ones. Don’t do this! You must respond to comments – good AND bad – or else you will be labelled as a company that is interested only in self-promotion, a cardinal sin of social media marketing.
They key to sales is to build trust with your audience, and this stat says it all:
5. Show me the followers!
It’s true – the number of followers you have on social media is regarded as ‘social proof’: the marketing tactic whereby the higher the number of followers you have, the more influence you hold to convert new customers. However, customers are more socially savvy and are aware that businesses can buy fake likes/fans/followers for their social media pages. So they have 5,000+ followers, yet no-one engages with their pages. What does this tell you? Quality over quantity! Likes or followers are quickly becoming perceived as ‘vanity metrics’, meaning they’re all show and don’t tell much.
Learning: The better way is to go where your targeted customers are hanging out, offer value, and draw them to you and your brand.
I hope these mistakes help strengthen your small business on social media – share any wins or learnings you’ve had with using social media for your small business!